Why the DE Turf vote has some Delaware lawmakers second-guessing

The News Journal | by Sarah Gamard Some members of the Delaware General Assembly are second-guessing their yes votes on a bill that allowed Kent County to tax hotel stays and give the resulting $1 million in revenue to DE Turf, a sports complex near Frederica. After learning the tax could benefit a proposed development championed by John Paradee – brother to the lawmaker who sponsored the bill – Sen. Cathy Cloutier, R-Heatherbrook, is one of the lawmakers who thinks there is a conflict of interest. “It doesn’t look good,” […]

How Delaware legislators quietly created ability to give millions to developer

The News Journal | by Karl Baker Lawmakers in Dover last week quietly gave the state authority to hand over millions in taxpayer dollars to developers. Buried 30-pages deep in the epilogue of the state’s bonding legislation, the new legal authority stated that Delaware can help to fund 3% of the construction of facilities that cost at least $75 million and would eventually employ 500 workers or more. No developer or property was identified in the bill. But numerous sources confirmed that lawmakers approved the language in order to give […]

Democratic lawmakers push bill to create 2 new top income tax brackets

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — A House panel released to the full chamber Wednesday legislation that would create two new top tax brackets. Currently, all income above $60,000 is taxed at 6.6 percent. House Bill 15 would tax personal income of between $125,000 and $250,001 at 7.1 percent and above $250,000 at 7.85 percent. As of 2018, 16 states had a top tax bracket that exceeded $60,000, according to the Tax Foundation. The bill is the latest effort by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, and other Democrats […]

State lawmakers dismiss ethics concerns raised by open government advocates

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller A former state lawmaker’s new business venture is raising ethical questions about legislators’ conflicts of interest. Former State Rep. Melanie George Smith is being criticized after seeming to directly benefit from sustainability legislation she sponsored last year. George Smith set up a consulting firm to help businesses take advantage of her bill shortly before leaving office. State Rep. John Kowalko was one of a handful of legislators that did not vote for the bill—and says he’s considering trying to repeal it. He argues […]

Low turnout for UD Trustees’ inaugural public comment session

Newark Post | by Brooke Schultz For the first time, the University of Delaware allowed the community to talk directly to the Board of Trustees, holding a public comment session prior to the board’s semi-annual meeting Tuesday. In order to speak before the board, individuals were required to fill out a form online at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. Individuals were given two minutes to speak, with a maximum of 10 minutes for the entirety of public comment. Only two people took advantage of the new opportunity, which […]

Delaware legislators file Equal Rights Amendment ahead of January return

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — Delaware could have an Equal Rights Amendment in a matter of weeks. Lawmakers on Thursday filed House Bill 1, a proposal that would add to the state constitution a line reading, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.” An identical measure passed the General Assembly in June but did not become law because constitutional amendments must be approved by two consecutive General Assemblies. The 150th General Assembly returns Jan. 8, and the […]

Bloom Energy permit hearing postponed amid criticism

Washington Post | by The Associated Press DOVER, Del. — Delaware regulators have postponed a hearing to discuss a California-based fuel cell manufacturer’s request for an air quality permit. The News Journal reports that the permit sought by Bloom Energy would allow it to swap out old fuel cells for new models. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control had scheduled the meeting for Dec. 27, but announced Tuesday that it would be rescheduled to Jan. 10. DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said in a statement that the rescheduling […]

Amid criticism, DNREC postpones Bloom Energy hearing

The News Journal | by Karl Baker Amid criticism, Delaware regulators postponed a hearing to discuss Bloom Energy’s request for an air quality permit, which would allow it to swap out old fuel cells near Newark and Red Lion for new models of the electricity generators. The Delaware Department Natural Resources and Environmental Control had scheduled the meeting for Dec. 27. On Tuesday, the hearing was removed from the public meeting calendar. DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti confirmed in an email that the agency rescheduled the meeting for Jan. 10. “The […]

Late Dec. hearing slated on replacing Bloom fuel cells at Red Lion and Brookside sites

Delaware Business Now | by Doug Rainey Update DNREC’s Division of Air Quality has changed a controversial Dec. 27 date for a public hearing on a construction permit that would replace more three dozen Bloom Energy fuel cells in northern Delaware. The hearing is now slated for Jan.10. “We felt the date was becoming a hindrance to our ability to explain the air quality benefits of the proposed project and the reasons we believe the permits should be granted,” Bloom Energy spokesman David McCulloch stated. Previous story DNREC’s Division of Air […]

State Rep. Kowalko wins seventh term in District 25

Newark Post | by Brett Kosinski State Rep. John Kowalko brushed off a challenge by Republican newcomer Bryan Rash to earn his seventh term in the state house. Kowalko, a Democrat, defeated Rash 65 percent to 35 percent in Tuesday’s District 25 election. District 25 encompasses the southern half of Newark, from Main Street down to just south of Old Baltimore Pike and from the state line west to South Chapel Street. “I feel vindicated,” he said after receiving news of his victory. Kowalko, a retired union machinist and community […]